Ron Strecker, CEO of Panhandle Telephone Cooperative Inc., (PTCI) received the SPIRIT of Rural Independent Competitive Alliance (RICA) award. RICA is a national trade association that assists its members with competitive issues at the United States Congress, and the FCC. The SPIRIT award recognizes an individual’s efforts in representing the competitive communication industry. Mr. Strecker received this award in recognition of the “Panhandle Plan” for which he authored. The Panhandle Plan provides a method for competitive communication providers to receive support dollars for their high-cost networks, based on the cost of those networks. The Panhandle Plan was filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on January 11, 2008, and is one of a few proposals that the FCC and communication industry is evaluating.